Can an employer in Chicago ask you about your marital status during a job interview? The answer is no. Actually if they do and you don't get the job they probably have a problem. Under the Illinois Human Rights Act ("Act"), it is a violation of the law to find out if a person is married, or single or living with someone and base a hiring decision on this information. Anyone who asks you about your status regarding marriage is violating the law if you don't get hired because it puts the issue front and center. If this happens you can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). The IDHR is mandated by law to investigate a complaint within 365 days. The IDHR will also cross-file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). This gives you both a state and federal option.
Now there are many different ways employers can try and inquire about your marital status. Some employers will do an Internet search on prospective employees. This could lead to employers finding out your marital status without them asking you directly. In my opinion this is also a violation of the Act and could subject the employer to a discrimination claim with the IDHR. Some employers will also check court records, which could reveal a divorce or marriage. It is important for you to realize you have rights regarding your employment or potential employment. These same rules apply if you are trying to get promoted at work or if you are being reviewed for a performance evaluation.